Newcastle United have reportedly been offered the chance to sign AC Milan star Rafael Leao in a club record deal this summer.
The 23-year-old forward has become a key player for the Rossoneri since he made a £28m move to the San Siro from Ligue 1 club Lille in the summer of 2019. Since making that switch, Leao has gone on to score 36 goals and provide 31 assists in 147 appearances and helped the club to the Serie A title last season.
Leao has shone at international level with Portugal and he received praise from former Manchester City and Holland midfielder Nigel de Jong after scoring twice at the World Cup Finals in Qatar last year.
He told ITV Sport: “He’s so different to those other players and wingers that they have. I’ve been watching him with Milan and he’s been having a fantastic season for them.
“He’s their star player, and for Portugal it takes time for him to make it into their first XI but when he comes on he makes an instant impact. The size of him, he looks more like a wide receiver from American Football than an actual winger so he’s another threat for this Portugal team.”
Leao’s form with club and country has triggered interest from several big-name clubs around Europe and there has been speculation he could make a big-money move away from Serie A this summer when he enters the final 12 months of his current deal.
Milan are hoping to agree a new contract with the forward in the near-future and are believed to be willing to offer Leao the opportunity to treble his current weekly wage at the San Siro. However, with negotiations still ongoing as a reported dispute over a release clause preventing the successful conclusion of talks, Italian journalist Ciro Venerato has claimed Newcastle are one of four clubs to be offered an opportunity to sign the forward this summer.
Speaking on Italian outlet 1StationRadio, he said: “Leao’s agent offered him out to various top European clubs, including PSG, Newcastle, Manchester City and Manchester United. AC Milan’s starting price will be €90m (£79m), as they will not want to be caught unprepared when dealing with Leao’s potential departure.”
Long-serving keeper gives little away on future move
Karl Darlow has refused to be drawn on his future at Newcastle United after making his first appearance on loan at Championship club Hull City.
The long-serving stopper joined the Tigers on loan for the remainder of the season in the final hour of the January transfer window and made his debut in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Bristol City after being an unused substitute in their previous four fixtures. The former Nottingham Forest goalkeeper is set to return to St James Park at the end of the season but questions remain over his long-term future, despite having two years remaining on his current deal.
When asked about the next steps in his career, he told Hull Live: “It’s not a discussion for me to put to anyone. I think that will be dealt with behind the scenes in the summer, and what Newcastle thinks.”